Essay on The Dead

Submitted By em30303
Words: 523
Pages: 3

“The Dead” (published in 1914), is the longest and final short story of all of James Joyce’s collection; Dubliners. It is considered to be one of the most beautifully produced stories and is thought to be “the masterpiece of Joyce’s most accessible collection of work.” The final paragraph is recognized to be the greatest paragraph of all time in English literature and is listed at number eleven on the “ 100 Best Last Lines from Novels” on the American Book Review. In this paragraph, Joyce is externalizing what Gabriel’s character is feeling through symbolism. The symbolism unfolds a lot emotions that Gabriel is feeling about his wife, Gretta’s confession about her childhood love; Michael Furey. In the last paragraph, Gabriel is gazing out his hotel window pane watching sleepily as the snowflakes fall obliquely over Dublin, reflecting on the dinner earlier that evening and his wife’s confession. She was unable to withhold her emotions, reminded about her old love Michael, the man who died for her. This confession reshapes Gabriel’s perception on his life, marriage and his wife. The silent moment of contemplation shows his passive acceptance that he was never Gretta’s first love and never really felt love at all. The snow falling symbolizes his sense of emptiness and the numbness he feels because of these realizations. While the snow falls outside as well as he foresees it across Ireland, ”falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills on the Bog of Allen and farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves”. “Snow was general all over Ireland”, shows that not just Gabriel is numb but everyone all over the country is just as numb as he is. “The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward” refers that Gabriel’s is coming closer to death.

The snow falls everywhere in Ireland and on one of the most symbolic places; on the grave where Michael Furey lay buried, whose existence is new to Gabriel. His wife cannot forget about Michael